The Obamas Light Their Very Last National Christmas Tree As The First Family

The Obamas lit up the start of the holiday season for their last time as the first family of the United States, and they did it with the help of a few sparkling friends.

A parade of celebrities joined Michelle, Sasha and President Barack Obama on Thursday to ring in the season during the 94th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House’s President’s Park.

The ceremony, which has been held every year since President Calvin Coolidge began it in 1923, was hosted by actress Eva Longoria.

Some of the country’s most celebrated musical artists from nearly every genre came to celebrate with the Obamas, with performances by Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Marc Anthony, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and The Lumineers.

Obama used the ceremony’s closing remarks to urge the country to love and accept every single person, regardless of faith or race.

“It’s a message of unity and a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of style. And it’s one that we all need very much today,” Obama told the crowd. “After eight years as your president, I still believe that there is so much more that unites us than divides us.”

Mark Wilson via Getty Images

President Barack Obama sings “Jingle Bells” with, from left, daughter Sasha, Caroline Smedvig, James Taylor, Eva Longoria, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks and Marc Anthony.

The traditional ceremony was as wholesome as it was glamorous, with a reading of “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by the first lady and Simone Manuel, the first female African-American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal.

This year’s tree-lighting marks the last time the Obamas will participate in the White House tradition. Next year’s presidential tree lighting will likely be hosted by the Trump family.

Below, watch the Obamas host their final national tree lighting.

  • Mike Theiler / Reuters
  • President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha count down to throw the switch at the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • Michelle, Sasha and Barack Obama.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • The tree lights up as the Obamaspress the button.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • Host Eva Longoria joins the Obamas in greeting the crowd gathered for the tree-lighting ceremony.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • First lady Michelle Obama reads to children at the National Christmas Tree Lighting with Simone Manuel, thefirst female African-American swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • The president and first lady spread their cheer at the tree-lighting.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • Barack andMichelle Obama at their final tree-lighting at the White House.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • President Obama addresses the crowdduring theNational Christmas Tree Lighting.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • President Obama sings “Jingle Bells” with Santa Claus and Chance the Rapper.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • President Barack Obama is surrounded by celebritiesas he sings “Jingle Bells.”
  • ZACH GIBSON via Getty Images
  • President Barack Obama gets a word from Santa Claus.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • A hug for the holidays between Santa and President Barack Obama.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama take in the festivities.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • The last White House Christmas tree for Barack Obama.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • President Barack Obama with his wife, Michelle, and daughter Sasha.
  • Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
  • President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama enjoy the celebration.
  • Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
  • The VIPs keep warm during the National Christmas Tree Lighting.

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 December 02, 2016 at 07:21PM

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